Sunday, October 29, 2023

Sayings of Jeremiah (4) The Actions of the Feet Jeremiah 8:5

By Ron Thomas
Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return (8:5, ESV).
    Why do people wander away from the Lord, Jeremiah asked. Before they wander, these same people allow themselves to wonder about what’s on the other side, they wonder if the grass is greener over there. As they wonder, they begin to wander because they are intrigued by what they see, curious one might say. With this curiosity, they want to try what others are doing. There are some who look at their economic circumstances and see those on the other side are not struggling or suffering like those on this side. In that which they try they soon conclude that “It’s not that bad” never realizing that it will soon become overly bad, deadly bad (if you will).
    Such things like these allow them to think “they all can’t be wrong” so they go over, sometimes never to return. They stay there by holding fast to deceit; they have convinced themselves 1) God does not exist, 2) God does not care, 3) God doesn’t see me in the sheer mass of humanity, 4) God won’t judge me because He knows my heart, 5) I have time to get things turned around, 6) look how prosperous they are, the Lord must have blessed them, 7) they don’t struggle like I do with my feelings, I’ll go where I’m accepted. On and on justifications are offered.
    When Jeremiah preached the Lord’s message, calling upon the people to repent or the Lord’s wrath will be experienced, the people concluded that Jeremiah was a burden to them and to be dismissed. What makes people do this? Evidence can be presented, and solid reasons given to move people in the Lord’s direction, but the Lord’s reasons are rejected because the people would rather stay put right where they are. Since they have enjoyed some benefits for their wandering, why change! Perhaps there are several reasons people use to justify their actions (as mentioned above); ultimately, however, it boils down to “I want to stay here; this is the place with which I am comfortable and change I do not take too easily, especially if it’s going to require me to give up what makes me happy, satisfied, and prosperous. I’ll just stay where I am and you go where you want to go,” they say.
    They say this, not because they have counter evidence that warrants their place of residence, but they say this because moving is unpleasant. They say this, as Jeremiah wrote, because they know not the Lord (8:7). They may hear the Lord and know the words that have been preached / spoken, but the words found no home in the heart of each hearer “who knows not the Lord.” The words came from the mouth of the Lord, but the people put up a wall and refused to let them come in. These same people consider themselves wise and, thus, have no need for the Lord. It’s a lot like those who turn away from the Lord’s church, not knowing they have turned away from the Lord Himself. They regard their own wisdom more than they do the Lord’s. They will deny this, but the fruit of their wisdom is in the actions of their feet.
    So, what can we learn from this? When Paul wrote to the church at Colosse, he exhorted them Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms [and] hymns [and] spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God (3:16, ASV). Notice: the word of Christ is to dwell in one richly, that is, the word of the Lord is to have a place in one’s heart (mind). The word that dwells there is one that nourishes and protects. Secondly, equally important, the word that dwells within teaches us to sing the Lord’s praise because we know the Lord.

- Ron Thomas preaches for the Church of Christ at Rio Grande in Bidwell, OH. He may be contacted at

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